Wed, Jan 04, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Chelsea continues to dominate

PREMIER LEAGUE The Blues had a fairly easy time against West Ham as Bolton tied up Liverpool, keeping the Reds in third


Chelsea's Frank Lampard, left, controls the ball away from West Ham United's Nigel Reo-Coker at Upton Park in London on Monday. Chelsea won the match 3-1.


Hernan Crespo scored within seconds of entering as a substitute Monday and helped Chelsea move 14 points clear atop the English Premier League with a 3-1 victory at West Ham.

Liverpool's 10-game winning streak ended with a 2-2 at Bolton to leave it in third place, 17 points behind Chelsea with two games in hand.

The Hammers were tied 1-1 against Chelsea at Upton Park when visiting manager Jose Mourinho sent on Crespo for winger Damien Duff. The switch worked immediately, with Argentina striker pushing the ball past goalkeeper Roy Carroll with his first touch and rolling the ball into an empty net with his second.

Didier Drogba added a third goal with 10 minutes to go and Chelsea, with 58 points from 21 games, increased its lead in its bid for consecutive league titles. Midfielder Frank Lampard put Chelsea ahead against his former club before Marlon Harewood equalized.

"To score against my former club is something I have been looking forward to doing," Lampard said. "It was very special but, at the end of the day, the three points is what we needed. We want to keep the gap at the top and, if anything, make it bigger. We want to win back-to-back titles and push on from there."

Second-place Manchester United, which has 44 points from 20 games, plays at Arsenal today.

Despite his team's lead in the standings, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was furious that Michael Essien went off early in the game after a challenge by West Ham's Nigel Reo-Coker.

"We have to wait for news on Essien," the Chelsea manager said. "Essien is injured but he cannot walk. We have to wait for scans and X-rays. All I know is that he cannot walk and his ankle is swollen. I don't want speak about Reo-Coker but I can imagine what would be said if it had been the other way around."

In Monday's other games, last-place Sunderland surrendered the lead at Fulham and lost 2-1, while next-to-last Birmingham beat fifth-place Wigan 2-0. Portsmouth, in 18th place, squandered an early lead and tumbled 2-1 at Blackburn, which moved up to eighth.

Everton moved further away from relegation trouble with a 3-1 victory over Charlton, while regional rivals Newcastle and Middlesbrough drew 2-2.

Aston Villa won 2-1 at neighbor West Brom to move further away from the relegation zone and push the Baggies into more trouble.

Liverpool twice came from behind at Bolton. Radhi Jaidi's early strike for Wanderers was matched by a Steven Gerrard penalty and, after former Liverpool striker El-Hadji Diouf had scored against his old club, Luis Garcia volleyed a second equalizer.

There were more problems for Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy, whose team has six points from 20 games and seems certain to be relegated. After Liam Lawrence had put his team ahead after seven minutes at Craven Cottage, Trinidad and Tobago striker Collins John scored twice for Fulham, the winner coming after Sunderland defender Steven Caldwell had been sent off.

Goals by Jermaine Pennant and Mario Melchiot gave Birmingham a 2-0 victory over Wigan.

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